The Portland Thorns are blanking the Kansas City Current in the NWSL Championship | Rare Techy
For the third time in National Women’s Soccer League history, the Portland Thorns are champions and on Saturday established themselves as the league’s all-time winningest champions.
The Thorns clinched the 10th annual NWSL Championship with a 2-0 victory over the Kansas City Current at Audi Field in Washington, DC in front of an unimpressed crowd of 18,000.
Sophia Smith, the newly minted and youngest NWSL MVP, opened it up in style.
The 22-year-old Stanford product fought through an apparently botched attempt to take former teammate Adrianna Franch one-on-one and won the fight cleanly with a left-footed hook.
Smith is one of the rising stars on the US women’s national team and scored 14 goals in 19 regular season appearances with the Thorns. He is also the youngest player to score in an NWSL Championship final.
The Thorns were clearly the aggressors on Saturday and their constant pressure was eventually rewarded with a two-goal header.
Franch’s forgettable evening was punctuated by a genuine team effort in the second half. Kanas City withstood the pressure for most of the second quarter and had a disastrous break in the 55th minute.
This year’s finalists were led by two first-year champions, and the 2022 Championship could easily be repeated in future years.
Portland boss and former Thorn Rhian Wilkinson is enjoying a dream start to his senior managerial career. Kansas City head coach Matt Potter, who previously led the USWNT U-23s, has taken the Current out of the cellar and into a trophy position in his first season in charge.
It remains to be seen whether honor can emerge from the gruesome details emerging in Sally Yates’ report from Portland. Yates’ report put Portland in the spotlight of the NWSL’s ongoing fight to eradicate harassment and behavior earlier this year.
Thorns owner Merrit Paulson was not in Washington and is facing pressure to stay away from the operation altogether.